20150311 Benchmark NS pay against median salary of top 1000 earners aged 23

Singaporean youths have been shortchanged by the government and it’s about time to revise the NS allowance. First, we look at PAP’s salary.

PAP claims they have sacrificed but ministerial salaries are benchmarked against the median income of the top 1,000 earners with a 40% ‘discount’. A new minister currently earns $1.1 million. To put this figure into perspective, it is actually an increase of 3,600% since 1965 when a minister’s annual salary was $30,000. This excludes about $200,000 in MP allowance.

When NS was introduced in 1967, the allowance for a recruit was $40. Fast forward 48 years, it has risen 1,200% to $480. The government appears to have benchmarked NS allowance to the lowest wages with perhaps also a 40% discount?

The PAP should not recognise its ‘sacrifice’ with financial rewards while recognising NS sacrifices with peanuts.

If NS is as important as PAP claims, it’s about time the government applies the same PAP’s financial yardstick to NS pay ie peg to median salary of top 1,000 earner aged 23 less 40%.

A reasonable allowance in high cost Singapore would be around $1,500 to $2,000. Even then, there exists an element of sacrifice – the loss of more than 2 years of private sector experience compared to non NS peers such as FTs.

If PAP wants to continue paying slave NS allowance, it should improve productivity in training and reduce the 2-year stint to 6 months. It should not make use of an increased headcount to justify having 20 paper generals in the army.

A lot of time is wasted – spent waiting due to poor planning. The completion of NS in 6 months is a possibility if not for PAP’s ulterior motive in having a 2-year stint.

At about $500, the NS allowance is a slap in the face, zero dignity if you were to ask one PAP MP. If NSFs are protecting one of the world’s most expensive real estate, the ‘protection fee’ should not come cheap.

Is it not fair to benchmark NS pay against the median salary of top 1,000 earners aged 23 with a 40% ‘discount’ to signify the sacrifice as what PAP has done for ministerial salary?

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5 Responses to 20150311 Benchmark NS pay against median salary of top 1000 earners aged 23

  1. Xmen says:

    The best solution is to get rid of conscription and pay market rate for soldiers. The market will determine the pay and the country pays for as many soldiers as it needs. As a wealthy nation, it can certainly afford the army. Its defense budget dwarfs the other ASEAN nations (combined?)!

    In today’s technology based warfare, you don’t need a big army anyway.

  2. phillip ang says:

    PAP has been resistant to necessary changes. By having a professional army, male Singaporeans will not be disadvantaged when they seek employment and those pursuing a degree need not waste precious time, some up to 3 years.
    We definitely don’t need a big army. A few missiles hitting strategic locations will bring us to our knees. What we need is a population willing to defend the country to the end. But PAP only focuses on the hardware aspect because of the $ value.
    Defence budget could easily be trimmed to increase social spending, invest in citizens. But PAP sees this as a huge cost instead! : (
    With a professional army of say 20,000, our paper generals will lose their jobs. PAP needs to buy loyalty, no?
    : )

  3. wongcheokwan says:


    I read an article that it was a NSman who complained to police that lead to the arrest of Roy n

    company.Its more strategic to leave NSmen to speak for themselves.IF they couldn’t defend their

    interests,could they defend the country?

    I greatly appreciate your articles.Their impact would be greater if they were organised along lines of

    academic theses.

    Very best wishes.

  4. wongcheokwan says:

    Good article. Exposed another facet of inconsistent policy.

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